COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
crime

Gov't OKs bill with tough road rage penalties; elderly driver testing

39 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

39 Comments
Login to comment

First put decent broad roads and then enforce rules like this ,,,,

-20 ( +6 / -26 )

A lot of elderly people don't want to drive, but in areas where there is little or no public transport, there is no choice. In Okinawa there is only an expensive and difficult to understand bus service. No trains, no subways. But then laws are made by people living in their ivory tower in Tokyo.

21 ( +23 / -2 )

Just in force the law, it ain’t rocket science.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

"Just in force the law, it ain’t rocket science."

It was being was being enforced, the problem was that the former law was not tough enough.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

First put decent broad roads and then enforce rules like this ,,,,

in a country that 80% mountainous? How do you builds broad roads in a country where land is scares?

?????

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

This would be no problem for the elderly and disabled in major cities but it wouldn't be practical if this was strictly enforced in very rural areas. In the very least, the government should consider that.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

First put decent broad roads and then enforce rules like this ,,,,

It's not bigger roads we need. What we need is more pavements, more car-free zones, turn smaller streets into one-way roads, more traffic calming measures, more traffic lights, priority for pedestrians and cyclists, and more taxes on driving. Thousands of people die every year in Japan because cars have been given priority over safety.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Ha ha ha ha ha

Now let's see the keystones enforce it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Its good that they've jacked up the tailgating penalty. It's not in this story, but it sounds like the points penalty is now the same as drink driving, that is, at least a two year ban. Getting those people off the road is more important than how much a court decides to fine them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cops should step up their presence on the roads as well. The number of kids not wearing seat belts or worse standing up between the two front seats of cars is jaw dropping in this country (not to mention drivers ignoring pedestrian crossings when someone is waiting at one to cross the street, failing to signal a turn and going down one way streets the wrong way). Enforcing the afore mentioned in addition to those in the article will generate a greater awareness of the need to respect traffic safety in Japan.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Cops should step up their presence on the roads as well. The number of kids not wearing seat belts or worse standing up between the two front seats of cars is jaw dropping in this country (not to mention drivers ignoring pedestrian crossings when someone is waiting at one to cross the street, failing to signal a turn and going down one way streets the wrong way). Enforcing the afore mentioned in addition to those in the article will generate a greater awareness of the need to respect traffic safety in Japan.

YESSSSS! I fully agree with you here! Yesterday as I picked up my kid from his kindergarten, the van next to me had picked up her 2 grandkids in one of those big family vans. She was buckled in, but the kids were not even in the seats. One kid was kneeling down tapping on the sliding door window and the other was probably trying to do a head stand in the front passenger seat. I got out and went to the driver window JUST as she was about to pull out of the paroling lot and asked her in Japanese "Do those kids have child seats? If you were to have an accident, you'd be safe because you have your seatbelts, but those kids would be greatly injured. I am concerned for their safety. Please put them in their child seats with their seat belts." She just looked at me and said "Yeah they don't like seat belts!"

16 ( +16 / -0 )

What’s happening with the old retired Japanese bureaucrat who killed the mother and her daughter last year?

Has his case been brushed under the carpet yet?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It is understandable that rural areas where there are less public transport should have been considered  - But that law is also fair that if one cannot drive safely due to slowing reflexes as brought about by age, then they shouldn't be driving at all. It was for the safety of both the driver and public.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How about just testing everyone over 75...at the age of 85 its time to get rid of their licences.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I have noticed an increase of aggressive drivers out there. I'm driving the posted speed limit and the cars behind me zoom dangerously around me only to get to the red light behind another car. For what? Just 3 weeks ago I was in a snow area, and again 2 cars zoomed on by, only for me to pass them as they had crashed into each other after what appeared unable to control their speed and cars after sliding on the icy road. Yesterday on the freeway another one got so close and I'm doing posted speed, that for a minute I thought it was going to hitch on tail bumper to give him a free ride or push me off the road. Then is zoomed around only to get to the pay toll while I cruised on by using ETC. hahaha...they were stuck in a long line. No safety first, follow the rules of the road, be polite and courteous goes a very long way.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If they're going to create some kind of limited license for the elderly, I would love to see something similar created for people with impaired vision that is just short of the legal 0.6 minimum. People with 0.4 or 0.5 eyesight could easily drive at the sub-30-km speeds of local roads even if the high-speed expressways aren't safe. Right now, AFAIK, there is only one grade of license for automobiles, and it lets you do anything from putter along a local road at the speed of a cyclist or jogger all the way up to the national expressways. There should be a way for more people to drive on small local roads in places where there is no public transportation. They're paying a lot of money in taxes for all this automobile infrastructure -- but they're banned from using it!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Thontaddeo:

That is an interesting proposal. Could do 14 year olds to 18, and 65 up for local streets and country roads. 19 to 64 could be upgraded to highways, etc.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What about passing a bill to fine the parents who allow their kids to jump around the inside of a car like caged monkeys? Oh I forgot...there already is one.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In the nearly twenty years I drove in Japan until December last year I was stopped by police 3 times. I've been living back in Australia for a little over three months and have been stopped by police four times already. Not for offenses, just random breathe tests and licence checks. Quite a contrasting comparison, isn't it?

Stricter testing of senior drivers is one thing, but not offering them support for alternatives will not stop them driving.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

At least it's a definite step in the right direction, rather than the usual situation of the government dithering and doing nothing.

@BertieWooster (and @ThonTaddeo)

We all know that some country folks might not have access to great public transport, but there would always be something. If the bus service in Okinawa was difficult for you to understand, that doesn't mean that locals can't. I assume that they all have the intelligence to work out a bus timetable, or at least to phone for clarification if they're in doubt. If they live in the country and still can't pass a driving test there, they should not be on the road. End of story.

@Tokyo-m

Excellent post (although I think there are more than enough traffic lights already).

@Japanoob

"failing to signal a turn" - 110% agree with that. As a 50cc rider who nearly got wiped out by an incompetent driver early on, I soon learned how many Japanese drivers don't understand how to indicate properly. It's not so much that they don't indicate. A lot of drivers here flick on the indicator once they've started turning, as a kind of afterthought (which defeats the whole purpose of indicators, obviously).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

in a country that 80% mountainous? How do you builds broad roads in a country where land is scares?

That is the argument we hear regarding homes but then even when there is ample land the houses built are still small. The problem is people don't invite people to their homes or hold parties so don't see the need for bigger homes that will end up being more expensive as it is viewed as customised.

There are one lane express roads in this country not because of lack of land but because not much thought is given to increased usage in the future and also super high cost.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Penalties for such obstructive driving will be up to three years in jail or a maximum 500,000 yen fine. Dangerous driving on an expressway will bring up to five years in jail or a maximum 1 million yen fine, according to the bill."

Better than the current three months, but still not enough. If it causes accidents and/or death, it should be at minimum a life sentence, no questions asked.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Caliboy

"in a country that 80% mountainous? How do you builds broad roads in a country where land is scares?"

In a country where land is scarce, you might think twice about trying to pile yet more concrete over it. Whatever the death rates may be, I think the basic point @Tokyo-m is making (that we need to start think about societies where the car is not king) is a valid one.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

it should be at minimum a life sentence, no questions asked.

Just like in any well run dictatorship!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Caliboy - in a country that 80% mountainous? How do you builds broad roads in a country where land is scares?

When you consider how many houses and apartments are empty both in and out of cities the above comment doesn't make sense.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@caliboy confused by your comment? Japan is 80% mountainous? OK, I get that but that second part of your post is confusing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan needs to open the closed car service market, , yes, there is Uber in Japan,but in limited scale, high end car which means it's more expensive than taxi. I guess they are opening up the market little because of the 2020 Olympics but still limited service.

When you open the market, it bring competition, oh no Japan don't want that. they prefer regulation and red tape,

would Uber or Van service help the senior citizens in rural areas, probably

4 ( +4 / -0 )

How about law enforcement go out, patrol and ENFORCE the laws first? But I guess this is step in the right direction. The roads are way too dangerous now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I’d like to see the car manufacturers offer the anti wrong peddle option on all vehicles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

would Uber or Van service help the senior citizens in rural areas, probably

It would in theory. It could probably solve a lot of problems actually.

But it's also "new" and unfamiliar to the elderly, so therefore they would refuse to learn it.

It's so sad how Japan is the most technologically advanced nation, yet so many people refuse to adopt and adapt it in their daily lives.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

drivers aged 75 or older with records of traffic offenses to pass a driving test when renewing their licenses and creates a limited license for drivers on the condition they only operate cars equipped with advanced road safety features, such as a brake to prevent unintentional acceleration

not enough

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am 66 soon and got a new license but I refuse to drive. I find that if I am walking and I do at least 15 kilometers or more a day and sometimes hit a rut and have to correct myself, I should not be driving. I just want it as an ID card. They should issue a license that is for ID only and not for driving. I refuse to drive.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Tom

They should issue a license that is for ID only and not for driving. 

The government issues an alien registration card, which is for ID purposes. You must have one if you live here. Are you saying you don't have one?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@that person

not enough

(...words?) Care to elaborate?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I understand @Tom's predicament. Once you have your Japanese Driving license, I believe you need to renew this license every 3 years or so - a static eye test, even with glasses! The only downside is you need to pay the renewal fee. So if you don't have a Car... you may eventually just give up, but if you do.. then - its potentially a danger for the rest of us.

Reaction & Situational tests should become the norm for older drivers - (globally) myself included. Times are changing, so too should the tests... nowadays, however, they focus upon whether you can you drive using your SatNav device (which doubles as a TV) ... NO you should be able to drive without a SATNAV as that is a major distraction ... like talking upon a Phone... which is illegal in some Countries (UK included), so legislation is a bit messed up at present. Yet, here in Japan... TV is on, whilst driving, rather than SatNav... as I have seen so many times ... in the front drivers position !!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dr maybe:

In defence of the indicator/turn signal, in some places if you put yours on, other cars will speed up so you cant get in front of them, even if going 10 kph in traffic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Current penalties for aggressive tailgating on expressways are up to three months in jail or a maximum 50,000 yen fine.

What about just tailgating or driving EXCESSIVELY close? So close you can't even see their number plate or the front of their car? What about setting a safe car distance on the road to avoid tailgating?

As for the steps to ensure safe driving by the elderly, those with records of offenses such as ignoring traffic lights and speeding will have their driving skills tested. Those who pass the practical driving examination will also have their cognitive functions tested.

Those who do not pass will not be able to renew their licenses, but they will be permitted to have multiple attempts at the test.

What a slap in the face of the families and victims of those who lost a loved one or had a loved one injured by the incompetence of an elderly driver either driving on the wrong side of the road, stepping on the gas instead of the break or just plain failure to stop or obey road rules? Its like saying "If you didn't hit someone in your fleeting senility yet, we will give you another chance to do so!" Come on Japan! Come on!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about law enforcement go out, patrol and ENFORCE the laws first? But I guess this is step in the right direction. The roads are way too dangerous now.

I agree to some extent (especially in regards to child-seats), but personally, I like that Japan is not an overtly 'police state' on the roads. I don't want to cop a $300 fine via military grade technology every time I drift over the speed limit by 5km/h...

It's somewhat stressful driving through Japan's tight and overly busy roads but due to the slower speeds, there are actually less car accidents in JP than most other (all?) G7 nations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not really a whole lot of road rage up here. Bad elderly and negligent driving? Well...incoming anecdotes...

I can see your eyes and they are flitting up and down. Please stop using your smartphone and drive.

We are on a pretty narrow road here, guy in front of me. Please don't stop, hit the hazards and take that phone call.

Everyone else has said it. Please buckle in your kids.

Lots of accidents where there shouldn't be accidents. Some at intersections out in the fields where you have 100%, full 360-degree, unobstructed visibility. Please pay attention.

When I have the right of way and I'm doing 60 clicks down the road, please don't make your 5 km/h turn right in front of me, at the last minute. Just wait at your stop sign, that's what it's there for. My brakes thank you.

Yes, I'm a foreigner and drive a "Y" plate vehicle. Please stop trying to race me on the toll road...

The number of blown stop signs and red lights has been impressive.

It is winter and this is nothing new up here. Please knock the snow off ALL of your windows, not just the windshield. Also that 3-5 inch thick layer on the top has to go.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites